At the 2016 Grammy Awards ceremony, an album by Zomba Prison Project from Malawi in Africa was nominated in the Best World Music category. The artists weren’t polished pop stars but prisoners and guards in Zomba, an overcrowded maximum security prison. There are reportedly 2000 inmates in the 340-person capacity prison. It’s called “Hell’s Waiting Room,” according to Anderson Cooper who recently traveled to Malawi to interview some of the singers.
The 20-song album “I Have No Everything” did not win the Grammy — but the album, available for purchase on Amazon, is having a huge impact. Songs include: “Listen to Me (or I Will Kick Your Ass)” and “I See the Whole World Dying of AIDS.” The Zomba Prison Project, which uses the proceeds from its music to fight for justice, writes: “We have already helped free two inmates who were falsely held, and currently have three more cases under active review. Through monies raised as a result of these recordings, the hope is to continue to fund as many rehearings as possible.” Anderson Cooper’s report will air on 60 Minutes on Sunday, October 30 at 7pm on CBS. Note: Angelique Kidjo of Benin won the 2016 Best World Music Grammy for her album “Sings.”